Tuesday, 31 December 2014
Orvieto, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival.

Some of the most beautiful ceramics in Italy are made in Deruta, northeast of Orvieto, and although the artisans are on holiday until January 7, some of the showrooms are open. Silvia, third generation of the artisan Pimpinelli family, welcomed us warmly to the family’s workshop, filled with outstanding examples of Deruta craftsmanship. 12311401 deruta visitGP Ceramiche Artistiche is one of the most respected workshops in Italy, and features magnificent traditional pieces, as well as newer designs of their own.
Silvia’s tour left us marveling at the hours of delicate and inspired work involved in each piece. 12311401 fascinating interesting thoroughFrom the clay, arriving from Tuscany since Deruta has long since run out,12311401 tuscan clayto the shaping,12311401 wheelto the design and transfer and painting, we learn what is involved in a piece,  shivering with Silvia in the cold workrooms, fascinated even in the chill. 12311401 w paintingAfter firing, the colors become so much more deep and intense – that rich Deruta red!12311402 after bakingSilvia’s father has hunted for ancient pottery and fragments since he was a child, and a small collection of his finds share the history of Deruta ceramics, renowned since the early 15th century. This ancient plate features a scene from Signorelli’s frescoes in the chapel we viewed yesterday in Orvieto’s duomo. 12311402 historic pieces father foundWe’ve been glancing out the window as we shopped in the front boutique…an unexpected snowstorm has blown in! So our drive home, as we snake along the two lane road beside Lake Corbara, is quite an adventure as the snow thickens.12311402 surprise snow But by the time we get to Orvieto there’s not a flake!
We grab a delicious lunch at Montanucci, where as usual it’s a challenge to find a table – this place is ALWAYS packed,12311403 back to othen return to Palazzo Piccolomini to change for an early evening concert, and Lorri grabs a photo with Cecil McBee, that legendary acoustic bass player. 12311403 cecil and lorriTeatro Mancinelli is our destination once again, always a delight.12311403 mancinelliRuss and Lorri, savvy jazz afficionados, had let us know the artists that were familiar to them who would be performing at this year’s festival, and we were able to include all of them in our concert lineup. 12311403 concertAnat Cohen, a jazz clarinetist, was on their list. She has brought a combo of young artists with whom she plays Chorro, a Brazilian jazzy folk predecessor of the better known samba and bossanova. 12311403 quartet anat lorri heard

A terrific concert, and we’re all invited for a glass of Orvieto Classico with the artists afterwards. 12311404 apero with artistsA Capodanno (New Years Eve) feast awaits us at Zeppelin tonight – and our palates are delighted with one course after another…crispy polenta topped with salmon draped with a creamy goat cheese sauce, a truffled cauliflower soup sprinkled with a crunch of hazlenuts and a crisp of Cinta Sinese (a prized belted pig of Siena) bacon, 12311404 toast a great yearthen this tender manicotti in white ragu of duck, roofed with a saffron parmiggiano crisp.12311404 cappodano describe coursesI manage a few bites of the main course, a delicious stuffed lamb, and even though I don’t usually like chestnut, I can’t stop eating this fabulous Mont Blanc of cream, chestnut purée and grappa until my plate is clean! 12311404 chestnut usually not faveZeppelin has moved from it’s previous location to RIGHT next to Palazzo Piccolomini – making it all too easy to hang around til way past midnight, chatting with Chef Lorenzo and his crew, 12311404 zep chef lorenzowho have provided a fabulous end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 for all of us – grazie!